Update: Medicaid Expansion Hearing Is Happening
FOX 47 News
State lawmakers return to the Capitol today for a hearing on Medicaid expansion.
The Senate committee hearing this morning comes after the governor hit the road-- holding town hall meetings, urging residents to call their senators to force them to vote on it. Robo-calls supporting the expansion were also placed in the districts of Republican senators who opposed the bill. The plan would expand Medicaid to 470,000 low income Michigan residents.
The house passed the Medicaid expansion last month. It then stalled in the senate.
If passed, it would bring in more than $200 million in federal money to the state. The federal government will also pay for 100% of the expansion through 2017. The financial support would decline to 90% by 2020.
While a vote on Medicaid expansion is a possibility Wednesday, even the governor conceded it's not likely. And he's OK with that.
"I wouldn't expect a vote in the Senate tomorrow," Governor Rick Snyder said at a press conference Tuesday. "The good thing is I think they are seriously looking at what the house passed."
Snyder's comments came after his latest efforts to get his message out on Medicaid. The governor visited Jackson earlier in the day, visiting a hospital and holding a town hall meeting to make the case for his Healthy Michigan plan, which he says would cover more Michiganders and reduce costs for everyone.
"The feedback's been tremendous," he said. "There's a lot of misinformation on what was Healthy Michigan and the Affordable Health Act and all the changes."
A senate committee will take up the Medicaid expansion when the legislature reconvenes Wednesday morning, but it will take a motion from the committee's chair, Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe), to bring it to a vote.
Senator Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) said he doubts that will happen. He wants the committee to take its time discussing the issue, scoping out every possible alternative and possibility.
"I'm not satisfied that we've done all we need to do to ensure this is the best idea," Jones said. "Let's be cautious let's be very careful with the Michigan tax dollars and look at the best solution for everybody."
The hard deadline for expansion is January 1, but Democrats say, they don't have time to wait.
"You can't wait until the end of the year to start the wheels moving because you have all the holidays then that fall into place plus it just takes time to get the approval through Washington," said Sen. Glenn Anderson (D-Westland). "If we don't move expeditiously, we could find ourselves behind the eight ball and not be able to be ready by January 1."
Governor Snyder says the sooner a vote can be held, the better, adding things logistically become more difficult with each passing day.